This article is intended at giving an overview of the book written by the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung and by the mythologist Károly Kerényi, “Essays on a Science of Mythology”. The first of the two articles will focus on the Divine Primordial Child, the mythology found on the subject and its psychological analysis from a Jungian perspective.
But first of all, Dr. Kerényi gives us a bit of a background on the subject of mythology and its interpretation from a Jungian perspective as a symbology of the cosmology of the human psyche. He says that mythology is the art of movement of certain material (gods, goddesses, god-like beings, heroic battles, journeys to the underworld…). Myth is something solid, yet mobile, substantial and yet not static, capable of transformation.
In the beginning of myth studies, anthropologists such as Dr. Bronisław Malinowski believed that myth in a primitive society was not a mere tale told but a reality lived. Dr Malinowski understood myth not as an intention but as a living reality. For the Polish author, myths are the assertion of an original, greater and more important reality through which the present life, fate, and work of mankind are governed, and the knowledge of which provides men on the one hand with motives for ritual and moral acts, on the other with directions for the performance. This author defines myth as a social tool and denies its symbology and aetiological character of living myth. This view and his studies, with the time turned insufficient to provide a full view of what myth is and what means for humans. Following anthropologists such as Claude Levi-Strauss or Joseph Campbell interpreted myth as symbol and its performances, rituals and ceremonies, as living myth. Myth started to be seen as the fruit of internal unconscious processes mixed with consciousness and the reality in front of people’s eyes.
Just to give some example let’s think of cities. In ancient times, they built them in periods that knew a living mythology. These cities and its builders claimed those towns to be images of the cosmos, founded just as the cosmogonic mythologens give grounds for the world. Cities seen as little worlds of men drawn to the same ideal plan in accordance with what man knew, mythologically speaking, that his own totality is organised and what they also see in the world at large. Ceremonial performances seen as the translation of a mythological value into an act. If we keep strictly to the ceremony, we can speak of the execution of a mythological plan regardless of its realisation, for example in the historical city-plan of Rome.The circle, the sphere, the quadrangular partition or the mandala, were connected to the foundation of Rome and also to the Indian thought. The four cardinal points, the four elements or the four infinite feelings, permeation by which through constant practice, it causes one to grow ripe for Nirvana.
There are patterns on myth themes and motifs found all over the world. Another example is western man dreams of Eastern mandalas-like figures. These kind of dreams appear to the dreamer, according to the Jungian school of thought, when he or she is on the road to wholeness, on the way to accomplish the fusion of the opposites. We call this process towards achieving the fusion of the unconscious and the conscious, the refunding or reorganisation of the individual, the process of individuation. Dr. Jung and Dr Kerényi believed that in this process of individuation we aim at reaching the origin, man’s return to his origin, the return to primordial images, mythologens, the latter concept’s content understood as the giving of grounds. Just as the content of an act is the funding of a city or the world.
Many mandala-plans equal the division into four and many city, shrines or human settlements’ plans copy that fourfold mandala plans. Quadripartition proves to be something cosmic, a fourfold division of the world. Dr Jung studies support this cosmic origin of the mandalas and mandala-symbols. He sees the origin of fourfoldness as a property of that centre of man’s totality, the self, which he regards as the result of individuation. Leo Frobenius explains about a city founding in Africa in which it combines the sun and the moon, the mother and the father, three animals sacrificed and four gates entering the city. We see once again the number four as representing the fourfoldness of the cosmos. The number three appears also as a way to divide the cosmos. The great goddess of the divine maiden, described in the book commented, is threefold in relation to Zeus: mother (Rea), wife (Demeter) and daughter (Persephone). An exact counterpart to this is formed by the masculine holy trinity of Christianity. Three and four are numbers connected to masculine and feminine, changing as monads in Syrtian culture, Atlantic or North Erythraean monads.
Dr. Jung speaks of the psyche as being inherited through human evolution and its unconscious to be limitless, infinite and part of that. He believed those mandalas to be representations of the self, of the wholeness of the psyche. He believed those divisions structuring cities to be a reflection of the cosmos and the psyche no more no less than a reflection of the cosmos. Therefore, those divisions reflect the psyche as much as they reflect the cosmos. Dr Jung believed that the individual went through a process of discovering that self, a wholeness symbolised in dreams by geometrical figures. The life of the individual goes through a period of development, as it were on the basis of a geometrical plan, a sort of mandala. Carbon as the main constituent of the physical organism, or diamonds, which come from carbon, also have this geometrical shape.
Myths are the reflection of that unconscious which is limitless, autonomous and in constant transformation. Human beings reflect on that unconscious and draw their creations from those archetypes. According to both Dr Kerényi and Dr Jung, artists, even whole nation of artists, city-builders and world builders, are true creators, founders and fundamentalists only to the extent that they draw their strength from and build on that source whence, the mythologies have their ultimate ground and origin, namely, what was anterior to but revealed in the monadic. What exists historically has the character, not only of a monad (belonging locally and temporarily to a definite culture), but also of a work (speaking in the manner typical of a certain people). On the other hand, people displays its form most purely when stand face to face with the absolute, that is, on the frontier of the pre-monadic (archetypal as deeper pre-monadic).
One of these archetypal, pre-monadic forms which we find in myths all over the world is the representation of the primordial child in Primordial times. This symbol appears in myths in Ancient Greece, in Vogul Myths, Finland, Russia and many other places all over the world. In a lot of these myths we find characters of child gods. Mythology seems to be a biography of the Gods, showing all their strength and power but it is not. Mythology comprehends all periods of life as timeless realities, as if those stories were tales of how the cosmos was created in a priori time, when we passed from chaos to order. The figure of the Chid plays a part in mythology equal to that of the marriageable girl, or Kore, and the mother. They are both manifestations of the divine. As examples we have Apollo, Hermes, Zeus or Saturn, who are symbolised as eternally youth. Many of the gods appear not only as men and youths but also in the likeness of child gods. But not always gods in Ancient Greece have been represented as children. In Archaic Greece, Hermes and Dionysus were bearded ageless gods. So there were times when timeless was symbolised with age. However, in the child-god anyone finds himself in the primordial realm of mythology where the most marvellous creations grow and flourish. The child god represents the beginning, the passing from no life to life, but also the transition from chaos to order and vice versa. Child gods represent the infinite, the limitless unconscious.
Another important characteristic of the child god is that appears on myth stories as orphan. All over the world there are myths about child gods abandoned or threatened by his father, in terrible danger. Often raised by divine gods or by wild animals such as the she-wolf bringing up the founders of Rome. In these myths, child gods are in terrible danger, threatened for their life, or abandoned by their mothers and left with the Gods. Stories showing the solitariness of the child god, and the fact that the child god is nevertheless at home in the primeval world, shows at once that of the orphan child and a cherished son of the gods. These are stories where the orphan child folktale and the mythologem of the divine child are absolutely inseparable. This solitariness represents the elemental nature of the child god, it purity.
Another characteristic of this primordial child myth theme is found in Vogul myths of the God “The Man who look at the world”. In few variations of the myth story he is let down from heaven in two ways, with and without her mother. In other myths around the world we find stories of the child born from the right armpit, as for example Gautama Buddha, the future Buddha, or Athena, wise and war goddess, born from Zeus head. At times the divinity appears as a compassionate being observing the world, represented as a Goose, a Swam or Crane. At times the child god also manages to overcome rough treatment by his family. It is recurrent though the orphan divine child. As to whether what came first, the orphan or child god, the question is simplified. The emergence of a god’s son or a king’s son from the orphan child, as a theme for myth or fairytale, presupposes the orphan situation and symbolises an origin that can be tracked to an elemental being. Nevertheless, the very thing that constitutes the folktale meaning, with all the exceptions we find, is the revelation of divinity in the paradoxical union of lowest and highest, weakest and strongest the union of the opposites.
The orphan child points on the direction of mythology or merely to a realistic description of a certain type of human fate. The Finnish story of the “Boy born from an Egg” is a good example of this. Kullervo in the Kalevala remained alive to avenge his father. The child avenges his family, but first they try to exterminate him; first with water, then with fire, then with air. We find of course different variations of the same story. The stories show the stuff (like fire) from which the divine god is born. What in humans appears to be an unusually tragic situation, the orphan’s exposure and persecution, appears in mythology in quite another light. It simply shows the loneliness and solitude of elemental beings, a loneliness peculiar to the primordial element. It is the fate of the orphan as a primordial being: exposure and persecution, which it is at the same time the triumph of the elemental nature of the wonder-child. Primal solitude is appropriate for those beings in mythology, but not for humans who are raised in a family, by the mother, the father, both, etc.
Another important element of the myth theme of the primordial child is water. In the Mahabharata, the child god, prototype of the wonderful orphan child, feeling quite at home in the primal element, reveals his full significance when the scene of his epiphany is water. The Child god who is the god of the universe in the Mahabharata is Narayana. He is also called, “He who has water as his dwelling-place”. In Indian mythology it is common to find the picture of a divine being adrift in the solitude of the world-ocean, at once child and giant. The Finnish counterpart of this story is the man rising from the sea, a hero from the weaves, with copper armour, a little man. This divine being transforms himself into a giant and destroys the oak tree. This primitive mythologem speaks about the liberation of light. It derives provably from Russia and the latter from India. Or it might be that all of them are borrowings from other stories. Nevertheless, this argument points at extensive literature and legend adorning about a birth which causes the world to shake and all elements to tremble.
We have discussed that Hindu and Finnish mythology nature of the divine figure has as essential characteristic, some kind of orphan’s fate. But also that the divine child comes from a basic element (water), hatched as an egg and out of the void. This is the primordial child in the primordial solitude of the primordial element; the primordial child that is the unfolding of the primordial egg, just as the whole world is his unfolding.
The other direction of myth indicated in Frobenius’ is towards solar mythology. In this symbology we find the original story of a divine boy hatched from an egg, a golden egg risen from the sea, which included all kinds of origination and birth, rising and coming into being, a definition of sunrise (solar myth). The rising sun and the new-born child are reciprocal and equal: they are just as much an allegory of the primordial child as the primordial child is an allegory of the rising sun and all the new born children in the world.
Water is conceived as the womb, the breast of the mother, the cradle, as a genuinely mythological image. Primal water-womb in combination with fish, appears as a philosophem in Greece and India. Various authors such as Anaximander speak of life coming from water and men coming from the womb of fish. Maui, the divine prime being of the Polynesians, was born on the sea also, but out of a she who cuddled him on sea weed and the ocean accompany him to the shore. On the same line, the ancient Egyptian Harpocrates, and the Hindu Prajapali, appeared for the first time on a Lotus-Leaf. The Greek god Proteus, the first being, was the ever-changing god Oceanus, one of the primal Greek gods, also connected to water even though did not represent a primal being. The birth place of Apollo, which was Delos, originally was a floating island. We find Greek and Hindu connections to the sea-child. Manu, the first man, is fish-bodied Vishnu, born from a Lotus. Vishnu is borne fish-embryo and womb at once. He is the bearer of children and youths and the changeling shape of a child god. So we find fish and plants as wombs for the divine child and water as an essential element for the birth of the primal being.
Various gods appear as driving dolphins, such as Phalanthos and Taras. In fact, the dolphin is the animal sacred to Apollo. Apollo and the Delphic shrine, the sea between Crete and mainland Greece, means a womb between places, just as the sea is the womb of life. In this shrine it was performed the destruction of the primeval monster. Ge and Themis, the first two mistresses of Delphi, who were worshipped along with Apollo, prove that this rocky landscape appears in mythology of the primordial child as the world of the mother, the maternal world. Rock this time appears as the maternal womb from where life emerges, from where the primordial being emerges.
Hermes is perhaps the classic Greek picture of divine childhood. What has Hermes in him that he should thus become the hero of the Greek classic of divine childhood? Hermes is born outside the Olympian pantheon, with the characteristic that his presence is marked by an upright piece of word or stone, the “Herm,” the naked phallus, the Kyllenic emblem, a gigantic phallus of wood. He is born on a primeval cave of chaos, in Delphi. Hermes possesses a spring with fishes. In the Homeric hymn Hermes steps into a gigantic view, as he becomes the father of all cunning. Greek mythology always preserved him in child-form, and the mythologem of the birth of the primordial child was also referred to him.
Eros is also connected to Hermes. The universe knows a melody whose theme is the eternal relationship of love, thievery and affairs. Thievery as a masculine melody, represents Hermes, and as a feminine melody, represents Aphrodite. So on one side we have Eros and Aphrodite, representing forces or principles. Eros, as the divine child, is Aphrodite’s natural companion and consort. Then we have the masculine and feminine aspects of the nature common to both Aphrodite and Eros, which are comprised in one figure, Hermaphrodite, the sum of Hermes and Aphrodite. The cult of Hermaphrodite was performed in places such as Argos and Cyprian. All of this is connected to the mythologem of the emergence of the child god originated from Eros and Aphrodite. It is also the wingedness and bisexuality stories ascribed to Orpheus and to Aristophanes. We find also the story of Eros and the dolphin driven primal divine being coming from water. All of this again is connected to the primal water.
In Hesiod there is the story of the birth of Aphrodite, born from the cut phallus of Uranus and from Thesea. The phallus is the child and the child-Aphrodite, an eternal stimulus to further procreation. Aphrodite in fact is born of the foam. This image of the foam-born goddess puts the idea of genesis and timeless beginning as succinctly, as perfectly as only the language of mythology can. The Hesiod myth of the birth of Aphrodite is a variation of the mythologen of the primordial child, which makes intelligible for us how it is that the stone of Thespiae is identical with Eros and the Kyllenic emblem with the Hermes child. We also understand why procreation and birth, Herms and mythological images, all variations on the primordial child, are equivalent symbols expressing the same unutterable thought.
The god Hermes brings this peculiarity of primeval chaos into the olympian order. He meets a tortoise (a primeval, ancient being), one of the oldest animals appearing in mythology. He makes the tortoise into a lyre. This lyre is given to Apollo as a cosmic object. For the Greeks the birth of the divine child in his capacity of Eros Proteurhythmos signifies the rhythmic-musical creation of the universe. The symbol of the divine child with a lyre on his hand represents a primary connection between the water, the child and music.
Zeus is the biggest boy amongst the child gods. In fact, he had no childhood. His rule was essential part of his nature, showing before his reign a history of his struggle to attain rulership, a new world founded. This new world grows erasing previous myth. Zeus seems to stand in opposition to the primordial child. But what do we understand by primeval? It is the repetition of the archaic, archetypal forms in the history of mankind. Jungian archetypal theory positions the primordial child as a common shared myth theme that was believed across the glove. It is a story symbolised in Finnish, Indian and Ancient Greek worlds, but its origins we don’t know if they are culturally or geographically related. Perhaps Cretan religion accounts for Zeus “biggest” boy myth. In fact, the child god might be also of Cretan origin. In Crete appears as well the symbol of child gods nourished by animals. The orphan’s fate is pictured in this same culture. In fact Zeus appears in Crete as the child of the Cretans but in Hellenic culture as the thunderer and ruler. He appears in both (Crete and mainland) as born as the primordial child out of primordial elements water and rock, but with quite different characteristics.
There is a division of Cretan and Minoan – Mycenaean religion and Greek, as the Roman and ancient Italic. As example of this we have Roman religion de-mythifying culture, while Crete mythified it. The mythologem of the primordial child existed in ancient Italy as in Crete and in the older strata of Greek religion on the main land. It was as alien to the Homeric hierarchy of the gods as it was to the genuinely Roman pantheon, or rather, it became alienated from them. We cannot with any certainty derive it from Crete, nor ascribe it exclusively to the sphere of old Mediterranean culture. We can, however, assert that in Crete there existed an older sphere of culture that embraced pre-homeric Greece and ancient Italy, the spirit of which was more fundamentally mythological than the spirit of Homer and Rome. The mythologem of the primordial child is characteristic not of this more recent but of an older mentality. This resulted in the primordial child myth theme relegated to Zeus ruling epoch in Hesiod myth.
Another character to mention related to the primordial child is Dionysus. He appears nurtured by nurses connected to the sea, goddesses of the sea. He is connected to a prime element from the sea, from which rising out of it and floating on it, mean the same thing. He stands as a symbol of the phallus in one hand and as a bearded god, as a bisexual god, of hermaphroditic nature. He represented a tense equilibrium of two aspects, the hovering of the new-born and the departed, between being and non-being, but with the certainty that the downward-trending path took an upward turn leading to the divine, and that the strongest was born of the weakest.
Dr Jung describes the primordial child as the psychology of the child archetype. In this book we are commenting he firstly writes generically about the archetypes. He mentions that typical mythologens are autochthonous revivals independent of all tradition. Mythologens are inherited through centuries of human evolution. Consequently, he believes that myth-forming structural elements must be present in the unconscious psyche. These unconscious products are what he defines as the archetypes. The medium in which they are embedded are for myths and fairytales, as an ordered and for the most part immediately understandable context, but in dreams as a generally unintelligible, irrational, not to say delirious sequence of images which nonetheless does not lack a certain hidden coherence. In the individual, the archetypes appear as involuntary manifestations of unconscious processes, as in dreams, whose existence and meaning only can be inferred, whereas the myth deals with traditional forms of incalculable age.
The psychiatrist separates the way ancient man experienced the unconscious and the way modern man does. According to him, the primitive mentality did not invent myths, it experienced them. He believes myths are in fact original revelations of the preconscious psyche, involuntary statements about unconscious psychic happenings, and anything but allegories of physical processes. A tribe’s myth is its living religion, whose loss is always and everywhere, even amongst the civilised, a moral catastrophe. Modern man does not experience myth. Our society has de-mythified reality and negated the irrational, becoming rationality the modus operandi of human understanding. Instead, our unconscious shows in our dreams and influence our conscious without many times us realising of this. We have come to reject the irrational, when it is part of us, and this has in some cases fatal consequences, such as psychosis and other mental unbalances. In other cases, we can see consequences in a collective level, such as the rise of totalitarian regimes, genocides or other crimes against nature and humanity.
Dr Jung speaks of two types of unconscious. He mentions that the unconscious fantasy activity can be of a personal level or of an impersonal level. The impersonal level is inherited. He defines it as the collective structural elements of the human psyche. Within that collective unconscious we find the archetypes, a material content which expresses itself in metaphors. A good example of an archetype is the subject matter of this article and of the book “Essays on a science of mythology”. The archetype of the child god is widespread and bound up with all the other mythological aspects of the child motif. It might appear as a dwarf or an elf, as personifications of hidden forces of nature, a recurrent theme spread all over the world. We find the child formed from chthonic animals such as dragons, serpents or monkeys. At times from a flower or a golden egg. We have discussed about this already but it points out to this divine birth, a connection of the child to nature, to the forces of nature, to the sun and the moon, to day and night. Dr Jung believed that the clearest and most significant manifestation of the child motif in the therapy of neurosis was in the maturation process of personality induced by the analysis of the unconscious, what he defined as the process of individuation.
The archetype of the primordial links with the past. The child motif represents the preconscious, childhood aspect of the collective psyche.The archetype is an element of one psychic structure and thus a vital and necessary component in our psychic economy. It represents or personifies certain instinctive data of the dark, primitive psyche, the real but invisible roots of consciousness.
Humanity provably always comes into conflict with its childhood conditions, that is, with its original, unconscious, and instinctive state. This is the danger, a kind of conflict inducing that the vision of the child actually exists. Religious observances, i.e., the retelling and ritual repetition of the mythical event, consequently serve the purpose of bringing the image of childhood, and everything connected with it, again and again before the eyes of the conscious mind, so that the link with the original condition may not be broken.
But what is the function of the archetype? In the case discussed in this article, the child motif represents something that existed in the distant past but also now. It is a system functioning in the present whose purpose is to compensate or correct, in a meaningful manner, the inevitable one-sidedness and extravagances of the conscious mind. Progress can only be possible proving itself conscious of the opposites and repeating the age-old rites d’entre et de sortie on a higher plane. It is an axiom of psychology that when a part of the psyche is split off from consciousness, it is only apparently inactivated; in actual fact it brings about a possession of the personality, with the result that the individual’s aims are falsified in the interests of the split-off part. Dr Jung believes that if the childhood state of the collective psyche is repressed to the point of total exclusion, the unconscious content overwhelms the conscious aim and inhibits, falsifies, even destroys its realisation.
But the archetype of the primordial child not only brings the past, it also foresees the future. The child is potential future, so psychologically signifies future developments. It paves the way for a future change in personality. The child is a symbol uniting opposites, a mediator. In the individuation process, the child anticipates the figure that comes from the synthesis of conscious and unconscious elements in the personality. The child signifies this state of mind in which the conscious and unconscious state are fused, just before with age they start splitting apart. So it also hints at the process of bringing them together after successful completion of the individuation process.
This motif brings to mind similarities between the child god and the child hero. Common to both is a miraculous birth and the adversities of early childhood, such as abandonment and danger through persecution. There are differences though between them. The child-hero represents consciousness and unconsciousness, a human who shows kind of divine-unconscious qualities but also human-perception-conscious abilities. In the theme of the child-hero, we find day and light, signifying consciousness, and night and dark, signifying unconsciousness. The hero’s main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness: a triumph of consciousness over unconsciousness. This comes as a process of acquiring your personality, through dangerous tests, the merging with the dark-other world-unconscious state. The child hero includes human nature, divine-unconscious and human conscious. He signifies the potential anticipation of an individuation process approaching wholeness. The child-god in the other hand is a symbol of the collective unconscious. For ancient people, the coming of consciousness was provably the most tremendous experience of primeval times, for with it a world came into being whose existence no one has suspected before. So the child motif comes as a reminder of that inner world which is part of us and we must not forget, while the child-hero comes as the necessary path through an individuation process aiming to find the wholeness on us.
There are some common characteristics of this primal child motif. One of them is the abandonment of the child, which appears at the beginning and as part of a mysterious birth. This situation of abandonment at birth creates a collision of opposites from which the unconscious responds with a third thing of an irrational nature, that unites the opposites. This birth of a being who excels in wholeness the conscious mind. Out of this, the child emerges as a symbol content. The child is threatened by the conscious and by the unconscious. It is though the most precious of mother nature, hence why he is nourished by animals. He is a product of nature, symbol of the process to reach wholeness, or as Dr Jung defines it, a symbol of the process to attain the self. This is a formula appropriate only to a psychological, that is, modern stage of development.
Another characteristic is the invincibility of the Child. In most of these mythological stories we experience a paradox, namely, the child is delivered helpless but possesses powers far exceeding ordinary man. The child is born out of the unconscious, from living nature. He is the personification of vital forces, of an urge to realise oneself. The child represents an urge and compulsion to self-realisation, which is a law of nature and thus of invincible power.
The phenomenology of the child’s birth always points back to an original psychological state of non-recognition, such as of darkness or twilight, of non-differentiation between subject and object, of unconscious identity of man and the universe. Dr Jung mentions that the symbols of the self arise in the depths of the body and they express its materiality every bit as much as the structure of perceiving consciousness. Furthermore, the deeper layers of the psyche lose their individual uniqueness as they retreat farther and farther into darkness. Lower down, that is to say as they approach systems, they become increasingly collective until they are universalised and extinguished in body’s materiality, i.e. in chemical substances. What this means is that the more archaic and deeper, that is the more physiological the symbol is, the more collective and universal, the ore material is. The more abstract, differentiated and specific it is, and the more its nature approximates to conscious uniqueness and individuality, the more it sloughs off its universal character. The closer gets to abstraction and try to attain conscious comprehension, risks to arrive to rationalistic approach of understanding and therefore to inadequate explanation.
A third characteristic of the primal child is its Hermaphroditism. It is remarkable that one of the main aspects of cosmogonic gods is their bisexuality, which represents the union of the most strong opposites. Hermaphroditism refers to a primeval time, a primitive state of mind. This primeval state of mind though fades away when distinctive consciousness differences appear. Hermaphroditism seems to disappear with civilisation, but this is not the case. The primordial idea has become a symbol of the creative union of opposites, a uniting symbol. Hermaphroditism needs to be seen as a goal. It points at the vitality of archetypal ideas. It also demonstrates the rightness of the principle of the archetype, because of its power to unite opposites. It mediates between the unconscious substratum and the conscious mind. Through this mediation of the primal child, the uniqueness, peculiarity and one-sidedness of our present individual consciousness are linked up again with its natural, racial roots.
Dr Jung understands that popular beliefs are a danger which separates us from our wholeness. He says that the popular faith in words is a veritable disease of the mind, for a superstition of this sort always leads farther and farther away from man’s foundations and seduces people into a disastrous identification of the personality with whatever slogan may be in vogue. This has been used for political purposes since time immemorial.
The bisexual primordial being brings up to mind the symbol of the self, where the war of opposites finds peace. Every individual comes from masculine and feminine genes. Consciousness represents our masculine side, while our feminine side represents the unconscious. These are the concepts of the animus and the anima, an opposite unconscious to the conscious mind.The anima projects externally into a woman, and the animus into a men. We all find those opposites on us. Dr Jung believes there exists an autonomous female psyche parallel to our conscious mind which influence greatly our daily life.
The child is the beginning and the end. In some mythologies the child appears born on the sea, favourite symbol of the unconscious, the mother of all lives. The child himself appears as a symbol of the phallus, the begetter, but also as the sepulchral phallus, again, the beginning and the end. The beginning creature is when man is not created yet, and at the end, after man ceases to exist. These are the pre and post-conscious. The child symbolises the wholeness, therefore, the preconscious or the unconscious state of a child and the post-conscious, or the life after death. The child is all that is abandoned and exposed and at the same time divinely powerful; the insignificant dubious beginning and the triumphal end. A person goes through the archetype of the child, and afterwards through the process of the hero, which hopefully and finally will help the individual to fuse his unconscious and conscious, and passing from having a life of the ego, to have a life of the self.
As a conclusion, Carl Jung mentions that the archetypes are the imperishable elements of the unconscious, but that they change their shape continually. He believes that archetypes are important sources of psychic information that must be studied and understood. Psychology, as one of the many expressions of psychic life, operates with ideas which in their turn are derived from archetypal structures and thus generate a somewhat more abstract kind of myth. Psychology translates the archaic speech of myth into a modern mythologem which constitutes one element of the myth of science.
Based on the book “Essays on a Science of Mythology”, written by Carl Gustav Jung and Károly Kerényi.
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